A Dangerous Effort to Undermine the Work of the Congressional Budget Office

For Immediate Release

When the House of Representatives considers the so-called appropriations “minibus” for fiscal year 2018, which includes funding for the legislative branch, it will consider two amendments targeting the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The first amendment, offered by Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA), would eliminate CBO’s Budget Analysis Division, which produces hundreds of cost estimates of legislation considered by Congress every year. The second amendment, offered by Representative Scott Perry (R-PA), would cut funding for CBO by more than half, from $48.5 million to $23 million. These amendments follow several comments by policymakers harshly criticizing CBO and questioning its role as an independent scorekeeper for legislation.

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget president Maya MacGuineas issued the following statement:

The Congressional Budget Office serves an invaluable function providing Congress with solid, nonpartisan analysis of the costs and tradeoffs of thousands of different proposed policies. While estimates of complex legislation are inherently uncertain and no estimates will be perfect, the estimates produced by CBO are based on objective analysis of evidence and data without regard to partisan interests.

CBO does not make judgements regarding the merits of legislation; it provides information regarding the costs and effects of legislation so lawmakers can make informed decisions. Without CBO, lawmakers would be flying blind on major legislation affecting hundreds of millions of Americans and costing hundreds of billions of dollars.

Recently, there has been an aggressive effort to undermine the work of CBO, and these two amendments would remove critical resources from the agency. This is a disappointing and dangerous effort. If lawmakers have suggestions for how CBO should improve its work, they should make them constructively instead of attempting to bully it into submission with threats to gut the agency.

You don’t beat up the referee just because you don’t like the score.


For more information contact Patrick Newton, Press Secretary, at newton@crfb.org.